Thursday, November 04, 2004


This is what you make for dinner when your candidate is looking likely to lose the most important presidential election in your lifetime. It takes a long time but does not require a lot of work, so you have ample opportunity to glue yourself to the television, or to flee the television and walk down to the video store to rent a movie starring Bill Murray. It involves a lot of vengeful stabbing and violent mashing of potatoes with forks. It contains a lot of cheese, which most sane people find extremely delicious and reassuring. It is warm, hearty, familiar, and comforting. You are treating yourself. You are keeping your strength up. But you also eat a big green salad or a large helping of steamed green vegetables, because you know you do not need to feel any more guilty, depressed, and ashamed the next morning—the newspaper headlines will make you feel quite bad enough.

4 large baking potatoes, well scrubbed
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small bits
½ cup sour cream (you could probably also use yogurt; I go with the light sour cream)
1 cup finely cubed Muenster cheese
½ cup finely cubed cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
paprika to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes under cold running water, prick them with a fork in a few places, and place them in the oven directly on the rack to bake for 1 hour, or until the skin is crispy and they're tender throughout.

2. Remove the potatoes from the oven (leaving the oven on), slice them in half lengthwise, and let them cool for a few minutes. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop most of their flesh out with a spoon into a large bowl, leaving ¼-inch-thick potato shells. Place a few butter bits into each of the shells.

3. Mash the potato flesh in the bowl with a fork, then stir in the sour cream, cheese, and parsley. Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, then sprinkle each one with paprika.

4. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet. Return them to the oven and bake them for about 20 minutes, or until they're hot and bubbly.

Serves: 4
Time: 1½ hours

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